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Genesis 15 Expanded Bible (EXB)

God’s Covenant with Abram

15 After these things happened, the Lord spoke his word to Abram in a vision: “Abram, don’t be afraid. I will ·defend [L be a shield to] you, and ·I will give you a great reward [L your reward will be great].”

But Abram said, “Lord God [C Hebrew Adonai Yahweh; combination of covenant name YHWH (2:4) with common Hebrew word for “sir,” “lord,” or “master”], what can you give me? I ·have no son [am childless], so my ·slave [servant] Eliezer from Damascus [C a major city in Syria] will ·get everything I own after I die [be my heir; C a household servant would take care of a childless couple in their old age and in turn inherit their possessions].” Abram said, “Look, you have given me no son, so a slave born in my house will ·inherit everything I have [be my heir].”

Then the Lord spoke his word to Abram: “He will not be the one to inherit what you have. You will have a son of your own who will inherit what you have.”

Then God led Abram outside and said, “Look at the ·sky [heavens]. There are so many stars you cannot count them. Your ·descendants [L seed] also will be too many to count.”

Abram ·believed [put his trust/faith in] the Lord. And the Lord ·accepted Abram’s faith, and that faith made him right with God [T counted/credited it as righteousness; Rom. 4:3, 9, 22; Gal. 3:6; James 2:23].

God said to Abram, “I am the Lord who led you out of Ur of ·Babylonia [L the Chaldeans] so that I could give you this land ·to own [L as a possession; 12:1–3].”

But Abram said, “Lord God, how can I ·be sure [L know] that I will ·own this land [possess/inherit it]?”

·The Lord [L He] said to Abram, “Bring me a three-year-old cow, a three-year-old goat, a three-year-old ·male sheep [ram], a ·dove [turtledove], and a young pigeon.”

10 Abram brought them all to God. Then Abram ·killed the animals and cut each of them into two pieces [L split them down the middle], laying each half opposite the other half. But he did not cut the birds in half. 11 Later, ·large birds [or birds of prey] flew down to eat the ·animals [L carcasses], but Abram chased them away [C perhaps representing later enemies of Israel].

12 As the sun was ·going down [setting], Abram fell into a deep sleep. While he was asleep, a very ·terrible [or frightening] darkness came. 13 Then the Lord said to Abram, “You can be sure that your ·descendants [L seed] will be ·strangers [sojourners; wanderers; resident aliens] in a land they don’t own. The people there will make them slaves and ·be cruel to [oppress] them for four hundred years. 14 But I will ·punish [judge] the nation ·where they are slaves [L which they serve]. Then your ·descendants [L seed] will leave that land, taking great ·wealth [possessions] with them. 15 And you, Abram, will ·die [L go to your fathers/ancestors] in peace and will be buried at an old age. 16 ·After your great-great-grandchildren are born [L After the fourth generation], ·your people [L they] will come ·to this land [L here] again. It will take that long, because ·I am not yet going to punish the Amorites for their evil behavior [T the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete; C Amorites is one name for the pre-Israelite inhabitants of Canaan].”

17 After the sun went down, it was very dark. Suddenly a smoking firepot and a blazing torch [C fire and smoke often represent God] passed between the ·halves of the dead animals [L pieces; C a self-curse ritual; by passing between the pieces of the sacrifice, one vowed to keep an agreement or suffer the same fate as the animals]. 18 So on that day the Lord ·made an agreement [L cut a covenant/treaty; 6:18] with Abram and said, “I will give to your ·descendants [L seed] the land between the river of Egypt and the great river Euphrates. 19 This is the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites, and Jebusites [C the name of peoples who lived in pre-Israelite Canaan].”

Expanded Bible (EXB)

The Expanded Bible, Copyright © 2011 Thomas Nelson Inc. All rights reserved.

Genesis 15 New International Version (NIV)

The Lord’s Covenant With Abram

15 After this, the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision:

“Do not be afraid, Abram.
    I am your shield,[a]
    your very great reward.[b]

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit[c] my estate is Eliezer of Damascus? And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”

Then the word of the Lord came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son who is your own flesh and blood will be your heir. He took him outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars—if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring[d] be.”

Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

He also said to him, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.”

But Abram said, “Sovereign Lord, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?”

So the Lord said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.

10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. 11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away.

12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13 Then the Lord said to him, “Know for certain that for four hundred years your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own and that they will be enslaved and mistreated there. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”

17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the Wadi[e] of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.”


  1. Genesis 15:1 Or sovereign
  2. Genesis 15:1 Or shield; / your reward will be very great
  3. Genesis 15:2 The meaning of the Hebrew for this phrase is uncertain.
  4. Genesis 15:5 Or seed
  5. Genesis 15:18 Or river
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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